108 Memories of Purple Rain and Journeys of Grass from Wood and Sea

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A very contrary September,wet Saturdays, sunny Sundays, hedgerows are now turning orange, leaves crisp and curl inwards, but a favourite of British gardens and urban walks still will be, as long as possible, the purple Buddlea.   Struggling through the disappearing hours of daylight as Autumn makes its way, it allows us to savour the memories of its vibrant best in highest summer. As violet’s intensity gradually distills to paler mauvey tones, it will still attract the butterflies and bees and be in total denial of any seasonal change. It seems that all Nature tries to  grasp and keep its youth for as long as possible, especially when it realises that even the best of youth has to change.

In Summer,  the grass is always greener, but when the sun is at its hottest and most life-giving, we yearn for the shade. Those enchanted hidden woods by oldest streams become our dream. Walking through that land, and being guided by the water, the story of ourselves becomes visible as river and wood make their exit to the sea.

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Follow that water out of the woods, over the rocks and into the sand.  As the tides part the rocks, salty flowers and gentle floating hairlines of seaweed waving gently on shorelines and rock pools, are but a few metres away from their own evolutions through the swirlings of acrid salt, light and time. These resulting structures which form Nature’s novel “Endeavours of Algaeic to Algebriac”, now sit in less than a few metres from each other, yet countless millions of years apart.

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Such a constant exposed clamber it was through solar wind, rain, sun and storm before reaching the patient guard of higher rocks and clifftop soil. Before our saltless green grass  grew up on “Jerusalem” hills, their feet in ancient time, dragged and pushed their identities as the lowliest harsh thorns and flattest lichen. As such, long, long before they could reach that silent watching place of Walter de la Mare’s  “forest’s ferny floor”, they were forced to be cruelly wretched.  Martyred before a green still peace could be possible, Flora’s evolution required pilgrims of chlorophyll just trying to find some solace on upper ground.

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Up on the cliffs, a strange coastal ‘eidelweiss looking’ dry flower in the C21st summer comes equipped with mathematical precision in its central dial.  Growing alongside its crisp clean dry creaminess, the business of wild, blackest juniper berries in small bushes and then just below, the impartial rock yellow succulents, neither water plant or hill grass.

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The whole scene becomes a triumph of summer coastline. I can touch it now. Watch the sea go out, watch the sea come in.  In the passing of an afternoon, just there in the sunshine, with a few hours a-wandering, the world can be summed up for much much more than a few moments in passing. Rising to the top of the cliff is now a land. Green perfection. Memories are made of this.

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© 2015 La Floralie


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106 Exploring the Space Age with the Passionflower

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High summer always brings the fervour of ideas, enthusiasm and hope to a peak of adventure. In our world of cabled communication, and with our increasing cleverness and ambitious quest to explore 100 million solar systems for “other life” and more besides, the rest of us may marvel at one man’s bequest of $100 million for the task and how it can access research into those 100 million solar systems for hopeful future ‘visitations’.

On such a generous scale of sponsorship, it is the human buying signal rather than an extra-terrestrial ‘bleep’,  which can generate significant primeval emotions to stir with speed and rise from the deep within the human core.  Such excitement accomplished an instant high fever pitch across  the global press. If ever on the journey for earthly truths,  we can certainly reach anybody across the planet and instantly with the twittering of gossip and the promise of money.

The purpose of that pledge is to create action on the road to “all important” self discovery.  News of such a far reaching experiment will have surpassed over most of our global population of almost 7bn, and we live in the Age of the New Renaissance, who knows what lies ahead? Possibly Nature.

Passiflora lands this summer

During all this commotion, on the surface of planet Earth in the balmy British summer, Flora’s bounty continues to flourish. Like the global press, Nature can be uncontrollably rampant and in the very same week as the Stephen Hawking announcement, one of Flora’s most ardent summer explorers, the passiflora,  began to blossom.

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A clambering army of passionflower vines could have been deliberately designed for the task of outer worldly communication. With its own type strange and exotic type of beauty, as these individual flowers grow to maturity, they each contain their own space discovery centres. When they flower, passionflowers only respond to the most intense of cosmic rays. As they open, myriads of botanic observatories hosting their own variety of exotic radio telescopes, will investigate the complexities of Nature’s astrophysics, angling themselves for full reach of the sun’s signals.  Not just a species of bizarrely beautiful little faces, these starry-eyed floral ‘creatures’ come fully packaged with their own wiring  and are ready to unfurl and connect on demand within the daily spin around our solar system at the drop of a sun’s ray.

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During the eons of many a Sunday afternoon snooze, it would appear that such flora have developed the fine art of communicating “aliens” for free. They take their science from the sun and have perfected the craft of ‘light response’ through Time itself.  From Greece to Japan, passiflora are also known as the ‘clock flower’,

New World history, Old World culture

Long before the Space Age, in a very different evolution of exploration and discovery, after Christopher Columbus had discovered the Americas,  the New World provided the fascination with an almost unlimitless range of new botany. Whilst there were in existence some 15 or so Old World passionflowers, in eve of the New World just one new flora to satisfy the appetite of the senses could justify the budget of many journeys of high risk across seas and jungle. Passifloraceae revealed dozens more and now we know of over 530 known species.

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Passiflora’s spiritual passage

Through the centuries,  passiflora became a powerful and sacred symbol, embued multifarious meaning across the continents. Its peculiar form lent itself to many religious interpretations. Its very name comes from Christianity, symbolising the Passion of Christ, passion being the most profound of spiritual love. For the Christians, its 72 central filaments represented the crown of thorns, 10 petals for the most faithful disciples, whilst its centre was seen as the cross of the crucifixion, but also the chalice of the Holy Grail.

In the old New World, the ancient civilizations of the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs, the sun was the centre of their worship. The passionflower’s sun like radial centre, contributed to the rich mythology of a plant also known as the ‘Vine of Souls’, where inside a shrinking petal hub as it develops an enlarging orange fruit, it also houses the spirits.

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For North native American Indians, the beauty of the passionflower was always the most prized, whilst in Asia’s India, again the structure of the flower also has many divine meanings, with the colour blue being especially auspicious as the colour of spirituality and associated with Krishna.

A most modern explorer

It would seem that at least in this world, through our many religions and cultures, the passiflora has been communicating with us all the long from our old worlds to new philosophies. Now in the age of solar science and blessed with an evolution of a DNA with rich diversity, gifts of colour, pharmacy and food, what will the New Age passionflower possibly bring us next? It is a most willing and avid explorer.

With its own natural telescope, if we are perceptive enough, as our flora contains knowledge built up slowly and deliberately, over millions of years, if we did happen to be the only detectable real “life”, which communicates with a vast and amazing history and range of experiences and wonders, might our plants be able detect the subtleties of the universal and solar unknowns which the human connective tissue cannot?  We already look to them to do so.  How will Flora unravel the secrets of our solar futures? Plants have inspired the human spirit, been responsible for human survival and  evolutionary theory suggests  that human life is also derived from plants as well.

Can you hear me Major Tom?

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/11751143/Stephen-Hawking-it-is-time-to-hunt-for-alien-civilisations.html


© 2015 La Floralie

103 Suspended in evolution

Floating in the light years

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Prehistory’s future.
The primeval lily of willow woods,
A climber rising from darkened forests,
Ambitious to see the sun, but always yearning shade.

Papery petals in white
With cool smooth touch,
Romantic, aspiring to feel the waxing moon
But shy, scentless, skinny, with appearance of complicity

The doomed bloom
Remained unchanged. An eternity of primitive simplicity.
With its white face softer than light in High Summer duskings
It brings the day’s end with a glowing translucence and backlit canvas.

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A screen of shadow play.
Transparent truth and illuminations
Stirring shadows of nearby neighbours,
Infatuated with self, they send an echo of love to stir the stamen’s trust.

But modern branches bend and crack;
Under the subtle watch of the crawling vine
A china sky will fragment between the spinal twists of wood,
As Convolvulus Cneorum imprints its memories of forsaken eons with no regret.

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© 2015 La Floralie


102 Summer afternoon in the Jungle……..

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The suburban jungle……4.2 billion years in the making to get here,  right by me. Pluto, Pluto  3 billion miles away…….10 years to travel….Imagine being away for a decade. The exchange of 10 years of time for one right moment.  A life’s work in an incredible 8000 miles distant photoshoot, all in the passing at 14km per second on 14 /15 July. Without doubt you must be a marvel. The world is ecstatic. But will you honestly, truly, deeply, contain more remarkable promise than what we already possess?

I would hate to waste these moments. I don’t wish to give this up, but I will think of the photoshoot and a desolate landscape awaiting tentative colonisation and curiousity. I hope it will bring a great and fulfilling future. But a future with no flowers, is a future with no powers. And I so love it just here.


© 2015 La Floralie

101 When the backbones of Julius burn the waters, to brittle with thickened blood

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July does not freeze the pain of passing beauty

Nor the hopeful future of greening youth

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They both reach a new destiny.

For those whose breath completes the height of a summer

There is esprit.

Blessed with no desires

There is no pain.

Complete waterlessness awaits.

There is no pain

Complete waterlessness awaits.

And we will float and float and float.

© 2015 La Floralie


100 The Saharan trail mix of Magnolia Grandiflora

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Come early July 

…….in England and not before, these Gulf blooms will be ready.

Once in high summer, Wisley Gardens in Surrey, England I smelt this flower and had not experienced anything quite like it. Its intense perfume is the call of the exotic. If a flower ever wished to compete  with a rose in its perfection, fragrance and then empress status in its gigantic blooms, this must surely be it. One becomes locked in attention to its sheer magnificence.

Thornless, waxy  and evergreen, able to reach for the sky with inaccessibly high blooms and frustratingly visible, the flower will be just out of reach.  With majesty and grace it is unapologetic  “Look, admire, but you may not touch!”

After seeing a few trees in full bloom in Paris exactly this time last year, I was amazed to find a member of flora royalty gracing a small corner garden in my local neighbourhood, but so grateful I had caught sight of it. A grand gesture for a simple house with a garden defined by a washing line of clothes and  a neat rainbow collection of pegs. This tree was left to a life to look over the garden wall.

I have been watching this tree for 2 days.

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Friday I passed,  and saw how on a day of cloud, this closed bud was not at all ready to socialise.  I thought it would take another few days to open. Yesterday morning it was tight shut, but by afternoon, little did I know to its intentions.

After the nights thunderous rain and awaiting for the sunlight to become stronger, the blend of that watering and humidity, and that blossom had burst open.

Sunday, the  mid morning’s warm air on the back of my neck moved my footsteps towards the tree,   beckoning me to observe its progress once again.  Of course it would only perform to ‘open’  in the right circumstances. One could hear the silent thoughts:

“…do not have illusions of grandeur if you can not live up to them, the weather and light must be absolutely right….”

Just a few hours earlier when the light had been unsure, everything was held in delicate balance.  Unless the sky was going to clear and the sun to shine its brightest, for all flora  to be seen, Magnolia Grandiflora is not just going to flower in its own company. It might be independent, but it begs maximum attention to justify expending its immense energy. Such is this resource one to make a wise investment, or risk a waste for fragrance to be lost in mediocrity. Its scent perfumes are beyond the power of any other flower.

Today’s Saharan warmth had done its job, travelling across continents, it had followed its southern beauty to waft its intense, sweet balminess from the perfect white cup into the world around it.

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Few will ever care to look, or view upwards within such a modest brick wall habitat  to see where such a rich aroma will be originating. Such is the clever wisdom to keep one’s riches hidden, only on view for those who wish to see it. This must be one true floral statement in omniscience. It knows, sees and has everything.

© 2015 La Floralie

99 Day of the Elderflower

A Birthday post for Oscar

A warm day will progress the ripening of a flower’s full scent just as it does fruit, and when it does, the summer air, with a china blue sky above, can fill with happiness. Every flower will have its hour when it is most fragrant. The intention was to allow my share of wild elderflower on the local canal to sunbathe all day and become so totally imbued with its own fragrance that it would fall in love with itself. Then I would come along and pick it to make its own love potion – elderflower cordial.

On yesterday morning, whilst on earlier tasks in the day, as I passed simple, but proud gardens,  the sweetness of orange  blossom and sweet peach tea from roses pervaded in the surrounds,  as I passed. The warm air was doing its job, this mix of perfumes was good few metres from their blooms.The day would bode well.

With their petals outstretched to maximum,  and with bushes and stems flowered to absolute profusion, these were no longer the shy, soft  and slow emerging, first blooms of Spring.  Summer is about  attention seeking moments , with knowledge acquired from the past, and like the confidence of a flirtatious teenager, these flowers made no secret about the desire for indulgence.  Their eagerness was to be utterly seductive to the senses of the unsuspecting passers by. This was apparent, not just in the rising, bewitching aromatics.

The petallics from even from the shy, old fashioned wall loving  hollyhock, from last week to this week, post midsummer, has deepened into a glowing magenta concentrate.  Any six legged insect friends could not be more openly tempted to attend a nectar party up and down its stems.

On china blue sky days,  with  fluffy puffy clouds,  we now know that past midsummer, between the extremes of humidity, and dry heat, because of the changes in warm moisture and light, the season is racing against itself, impatient to intensify and enter its very best,  and being aware of such short-lived pleasure, we wonder “Why can’t Nature always be like summer days?”

Whilst grasses dry quickly and turns to straw, one remembers that to ensure the most fragrant offering of an elderflower potion, and possibly to mix subtly with new gooseberries, one must not forget to let the day turn to evening with love potions. Remember to pick the best when immersed in the warm sunlight of the day and pleasantly drowsy, nothing else will do.

Elderflower Love Potion

25 heads of elderflower, some closed ones

Immerse in freshly boiled water with orange and lemon zest

Cover overnight

Sieve and bottle the next morning with honey/sugar

Share with generousity, but use sparingly. Make cocktails, soft drinks or add to fruit salads. Use its bottled fragrance to remember the tender warm and fragrant days of summer, blue skies and green walks and in my case 26 years of being a mother. The labour was not a summer walk as I remember…but the end product was definitely intoxicating, a bed of baby was a very good result. Happy Birthday Oscar. Always keep love potions in a secret, well protected place.

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© 2015 La Floralie